Two More Views
A crushing defeat for the cause of Western civilization, or a glimmer of hope? The reactions to the Pope's speech, the Muslim threats, and the Pope's retreat continue to fill web pages. Here are two views. The first, from Via-Resistancia, a Google group, expresses profound disappointment with Benedict's apparent back-pedaling:
Pope Benedict XVI reiterated again this morning, during his Sunday sermon, that he was "sorry" his remarks had "shocked" Muslims. Adding that all he wanted was to engage in an "open" dialogue with them, he stated that the quote he had borrowed from Byzantine Emperor Paleologus II "did not reflect his thoughts on Islam.."
This back-pedaling on the part of the Pope before Islam, for having dared to tell the truth, is a shameful thing for the Roman Church, a shameful thing for all Christians, who watched as the first among them displayed weakness and cowardice when confronted with Muslim violence, intolerance and hatred.
And one can only be saddened at the thought that the Pope has probably given Muslim totalitarianism a major political victory. It can henceforth be said that Islam, by brandishing its threats, can impose a veritable censorship without limits on the West.
This Pope had given us hope, he had aroused our enthusiasm at the beginning of this week, he disappoints all the more...Yes, George W. Bush, himself isolated in his own camp in the United States, was right to say, as Malraux did in his own day, that Islam would be at the heart of the 21st century's struggles for power. But what is to be feared, is that, in the end, it triumphs and tolls the bell for Western civilization, just as the Roman Empire had been ruined and swept away by the barbarians.
The death of Oriana Fallaci only adds to our distress. There is probably no more hope for the free world.
However for Denis Greslin, administrator of Occidentalis, the genie is out of the bottle:
The polemic engendered this week by the very moderate comments of Pope Benedict XVI has the merit of relaunching the debate on this sensitive subject which is the intrinsically violent nature of Islam.
Even if the Vatican seems to be backing off and yielding to the insults, pressures and threats of hysterical crowds in Muslim streets, nothing will be as it was before. The question has been posed, the message transmitted and apparently received.
No, Islam is not a religion of love and of peace. And even if the theological discussion at the heart of the debate is beyond my abilities, and even if the Pope was not as clear and as precise as the situation necessitated, it is still one step forward, and we should not be too quick to criticize. Those who expected from the Catholic Church a vigorous reaction of self-defense, of support for Christians oppressed in Muslim lands, are going to be disappointed, they way I am. But a series of small steps and of strong signals is moving in the right direction.
With respect to Denis Greslin, the only "strong signals" I've seen are those that say the United States is due to be attacked again very soon.
And, of course, as with the Danish cartoons, the reaction of Muslims manipulated by States and terrorist groups is evidence of their worth. To prove that Islam is not violent, they parade in the streets burning effigies of the Pope, they burn churches in "Palestine", and they assassinated an Italian nun in Somalia. Nothing but peace! And what a great show of tolerance and open-mindedness!!!
...In any case (this polemic) has allowed a few locks to be broken. It is to be hoped that Christians around the world will be impelled to display discernment and to come to the realization that they are threatened by a fascistic ideology the prime objective of which is submission and eradication of all other beliefs.